It’s Time to Treat Pet Obesity like an Emergency!

October 6th, 2015 by Daniel Mudrick

Is your pet packing on the pounds?

It’s so easy to overfeed our pets. Even when we follow the portion instructions on the pet food’s label, somehow their weight keeps creeping higher. Maybe it’s all those little extras, like table food and treats? Or maybe our pet doesn’t get enough regular exercise. Or maybe the portion instructions on the pet food label aren’t quite right for our specific pet, as everyone is an individual.

Whichever way you look at it, there are a lot of overweight and obese pets out there. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 54% of dogs and cats in the US are overweight or obese. They even say that owners are becoming less and less able to recognize when there’s a problem with their pet’s weight!

When over one in every two dogs and cats are overweight or obese, we have a serious problem on our hands. It’s time to start treating pet obesity like an emergency.

Why Treat Obesity Like an Emergency?

While we never like to think that we’re harming our beloved furry friends, allowing them to become overweight can create a whole host of health problems down the road.

Here are just some of the harmful effects of pet obesity:

  • More prone to overheating in hot weather
  • 40% higher prevalence of skin problems
  • More difficult for veterinarians to diagnose health conditions because it is harder to hear their heart, feel their vital organs, or get samples for analysis
  • Earlier onset of chronic conditions
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure, kidney, heart, and vascular diseases
  • Potential problems with liver function
  • Increased risk of arthritis
  • Increased risk of developing severe diabetes
  • Can develop spinal disc problems and torn knee ligaments
  • Worse ability to combat infection and diseases
  • Increased cancer rate
  • Shorter lifespan

These effects of obesity don’t just shorten a pet’s life – they also lower the quality of that life. The sad fact is that an obese and sick pet will not have the same robust, happy existence that their lean counterparts enjoy.

Canadian veterinarians say that weight control and management is the #1 thing a pet owner can do to lengthen their pet’s life.

So if your pet is overweight or obese, treat it like an emergency – make a change today! The good news is you can prevent your pet from suffering these effects of excessive weight with simple changes in diet.

Pet Nutrition and Weight Control Recommendations

First and foremost, do not overfeed your pet! Just like when we want to lose weight, it starts with a proper diet. That means no more unhealthy treats or unsanctioned people-food!

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has some useful pet weight loss tools that you can check out to get started.

However, if you are serious about helping your dog or cat get healthier through weight control and nutrition, you should meet with your veterinarian to get recommendations and advice. Your vet will examine your pet, take into account any current or past health concerns, and find out how much exercise your pet is getting. With that insight, they will be able to give you specific suggestions based on your unique pet. You cannot simply cut back quantity of food given. While you may match the calories eaten to those burned, you can be dangerously decreasing the amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.

At Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, we encourage you to bring your pet in for monthly weigh-ins if you’d like, at no charge. That way, you’ll be able to track your pet’s progress toward better health.

If your pet had a health emergency, you’d bring them to the vet. Obesity is a health emergency waiting to happen – so be proactive and bring them in for a consultation now!

>> Talk to us about how to keep your pet fit and healthy! Book an appointment now.

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About Daniel Mudrick

I'm the owner and founder of Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Clarkson Village Animal Hospital has always been a dream of mine, and by caring for one patient at a time, the hospital has continued to grow. During those rare times when I'm not at the hospital, I'm at yoga, hiking, gardening, and spending time with my family. I also enjoy reading to stay current on the most recent advances in veterinary medicine.

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